Revelation 13:1-3

Wednesday Evening Bible Study

July 16, 1997

Introduction

Last week we began a section of Revelation that was clearly symbolic, in fact, John was the one that tipped us off to it:

(Rev 12:1 KJV) And there appeared a great wonder (sign, symbol) in heaven; a woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and upon her head a crown of twelve stars:

In that chapter we met this woman, a symbol of Israel, and the dragon that was out to kill her

(Rev 12:3 KJV) And there appeared another wonder in heaven; and behold a great red dragon, having seven heads and ten horns, and seven crowns upon his heads.

Judging by the language weíre going to see in chapter 13 (talk of a beast with seven heads, ten horns, etc), I think itís safe to say that a measure of what weíll be reading about is still symbolic.

In some of the Greek texts, the first part of verse 1 is placed at the end of chapter 12, as 12:18.

I think that chapter 13 is just a continuation of the ideas in chapter 12. Keep in mind how chapter twelve ended:

(Rev 12:17 KJV) And the dragon was wroth with the woman, and went to make war with the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ.

What weíre going to see is that in chapter 13, the dragon has a special way of "making war" with the remnant, and thatís through the person of the antichrist.

Chapter 13 is all about the antichrist.

As weíll see, heís empowered by the dragon (vs.4), empowered by Satan himself.

To be able to get a clearer picture of the symbolism involved, we need to look at a couple of Old Testament prophecies that use parallel language, and in which the interpretation is fairly clear as well.

Daniel 2

King Nebuchadnezzar had a really weird dream, and not only needed someone to interpret it, but even to tell him what it was. Daniel was the man Ö

Nebís dream was about a statue with four parts to it, and Daniel explained that these four parts were four world empires, one after another.

{37} Thou, O king, art a king of kings: for the God of heaven hath given thee a kingdom, power, and strength, and glory. {38} And wheresoever the children of men dwell, the beasts of the field and the fowls of the heaven hath he given into thine hand, and hath made thee ruler over them all. Thou art this head of gold.

Nebuchadnezzar and his Babylonian empire was the statueís head of gold. The first empire, the one current with Daniel.

{39} And after thee shall arise another kingdom inferior to thee, and another third kingdom of brass, which shall bear rule over all the earth.

As silver is inferior to gold, the Medo-Persian empire would be inferior to Nebuchadnezzarís empire.

The third kingdom was that of Greece.

{40} And the fourth kingdom shall be strong as iron: forasmuch as iron breaketh in pieces and subdueth all things: and as iron that breaketh all these, shall it break in pieces and bruise.

The fourth empire is going to be a little more complex, but it represents the Roman empire.

{41} And whereas thou sawest the feet and toes, part of potters' clay, and part of iron, the kingdom shall be divided; but there shall be in it of the strength of the iron, forasmuch as thou sawest the iron mixed with miry clay.

Even though Daniel only mentions four empires, there seems to be a difference between the legs of iron, and the feet and toes which were of a different substance.

As weíll see, this will be the Antichristís empire, a form of the older Roman empire, yet made of a little different stuff.

Note that two feet usually contain ten toes.

{42} And as the toes of the feet were part of iron, and part of clay, so the kingdom shall be partly strong, and partly broken.

There will be some strengths and weaknesses in the kingdom, some see this as a kind of confederacy.

{43} And whereas thou sawest iron mixed with miry clay, they shall mingle themselves with the seed of men: but they shall not cleave one to another, even as iron is not mixed with clay. {44} And in the days of these kings shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom, which shall never be destroyed: and the kingdom shall not be left to other people, but it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand for ever. {45} Forasmuch as thou sawest that the stone was cut out of the mountain without hands, and that it brake in pieces the iron, the brass, the clay, the silver, and the gold; the great God hath made known to the king what shall come to pass hereafter: and the dream is certain, and the interpretation thereof sure.

The stone cut without hands is Jesus Christ, who will come to set up His kingdom, and will destroy the other kingdoms.

Important points:

There is a set of four empires, with another empire being related to, yet different from the fourth.

Progression along the body parts is equal to the progression through time.

The further down you go down the body, the later the time is.

Ten toes, related to Rome.

Daniel 7

In this chapter, weíre going to see lots of parallels with Daniel 2, but this is going to be a vision that Daniel himself receives, along with some interpretation.

(Dan 7 KJV) In the first year of Belshazzar king of Babylon Daniel had a dream and visions of his head upon his bed: then he wrote the dream, and told the sum of the matters. {2} Daniel spake and said, I saw in my vision by night, and, behold, the four winds of the heaven strove upon the great sea. {3} And four great beasts came up from the sea, diverse one from another.

Danielís vision is going to be about the same four world empires, but here theyíre going to be pictured as beasts.

These four beasts all come out of the sea.

I believe this to be the Mediterranean Sea, which is often referred to in Scripture as "the sea".

All four of these world empires wrapped around the Mediterranean to some extent.

{4} The first was like a lion, and had eagle's wings: I beheld till the wings thereof were plucked, and it was lifted up from the earth, and made stand upon the feet as a man, and a man's heart was given to it.

LION: This is again the Babylonian empire, and a picture of Nebuchadnezzar as he went through his conversion, having a real heart (Daniel 4).

{5} And behold another beast, a second, like to a bear, and it raised up itself on one side, and it had three ribs in the mouth of it between the teeth of it: and they said thus unto it, Arise, devour much flesh.

BEAR: This was the Medo-Persian empire, in which the Persian portion became more dominant through time. The ribs might be talking about the three major nations conquered to form itís empire, Babylon, Lydia, and Egypt.

{6} After this I beheld, and lo another, like a leopard, which had upon the back of it four wings of a fowl; the beast had also four heads; and dominion was given to it.

LEOPARD: This was the Grecian Empire under the leadership of Alexander the Great. The Grecian empire was later divided into four parts at Alexanderís death, among his four main generals.

{7} After this I saw in the night visions, and behold a fourth beast, dreadful and terrible, and strong exceedingly; and it had great iron teeth: it devoured and brake in pieces, and stamped the residue with the feet of it: and it was diverse from all the beasts that were before it; and it had ten horns.

BEAST FOUR: This was the Roman empire. Note that just as the statue in Dan.2 had ten toes, this beast has ten horns.

{8} I considered the horns, and, behold, there came up among them another little horn, before whom there were three of the first horns plucked up by the roots: and, behold, in this horn were eyes like the eyes of man, and a mouth speaking great things.

This "little horn" is the antichrist.

{9} I beheld till the thrones were cast down, and the Ancient of days did sit, whose garment was white as snow, and the hair of his head like the pure wool: his throne was like the fiery flame, and his wheels as burning fire.

The Ancient of Days is God the Father.

{10} A fiery stream issued and came forth from before him: thousand thousands ministered unto him, and ten thousand times ten thousand stood before him: the judgment was set, and the books were opened. {11} I beheld then because of the voice of the great words which the horn spake: I beheld even till the beast was slain, and his body destroyed, and given to the burning flame. {12} As concerning the rest of the beasts, they had their dominion taken away: yet their lives were prolonged for a season and time. {13} I saw in the night visions, and, behold, one like the Son of man came with the clouds of heaven, and came to the Ancient of days, and they brought him near before him. {14} And there was given him dominion, and glory, and a kingdom, that all people, nations, and languages, should serve him: his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom that which shall not be destroyed.

Jesus Christ taking dominion over the earth!

{15} I Daniel was grieved in my spirit in the midst of my body, and the visions of my head troubled me. {16} I came near unto one of them that stood by, and asked him the truth of all this. So he told me, and made me know the interpretation of the things. {17} These great beasts, which are four, are four kings, which shall arise out of the earth. {18} But the saints of the most High shall take the kingdom, and possess the kingdom for ever, even for ever and ever. {19} Then I would know the truth of the fourth beast, which was diverse from all the others, exceeding dreadful, whose teeth were of iron, and his nails of brass; which devoured, brake in pieces, and stamped the residue with his feet; {20} And of the ten horns that were in his head, and of the other which came up, and before whom three fell; even of that horn that had eyes, and a mouth that spake very great things, whose look was more stout than his fellows. {21} I beheld, and the same horn made war with the saints, and prevailed against them; {22} Until the Ancient of days came, and judgment was given to the saints of the most High; and the time came that the saints possessed the kingdom. {23} Thus he said, The fourth beast shall be the fourth kingdom upon earth, which shall be diverse from all kingdoms, and shall devour the whole earth, and shall tread it down, and break it in pieces. {24} And the ten horns out of this kingdom are ten kings that shall arise: and another shall rise after them; and he shall be diverse from the first, and he shall subdue three kings.

The ten horns are ten kings that arise from the older, Roman empire.

The "little" horn, the antichrist, will "subdue", or apparently conquer three of the ten kings.

{25} And he shall speak great words against the most High, and shall wear out the saints of the most High, and think to change times and laws: and they shall be given into his hand until a time and times and the dividing of time.

The antichrist will speak blasphemous things against God.

In changing times and laws, it is thought this might refer to the taking away of the temple sacrifices, the morning and evening offerings, etc.

He is given authority for 3 Ĺ years (time, times, half a time)

{26} But the judgment shall sit, and they shall take away his dominion, to consume and to destroy it unto the end. {27} And the kingdom and dominion, and the greatness of the kingdom under the whole heaven, shall be given to the people of the saints of the most High, whose kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and all dominions shall serve and obey him. {28} Hitherto is the end of the matter. As for me Daniel, my cogitations much troubled me, and my countenance changed in me: but I kept the matter in my heart.

In the end, antichrist will be destroyed.

Important points:

The progression of the four empires.

The empires come out of the Mediterranean Sea.

The first three empires are represented by a lion, a bear, and a leopard.

The fourth, Roman empire will have a later form with ten kings

A smaller king (antichrist) will come and conquer three of them.

Revelation 13:1-3

:1 and saw a beast

For those of you using the King James Bible, you need to be careful not to confuse this "beast" with the four "beasts" before Godís throne.

There are two different Greek words being used.

The "beasts" before the throne (zo-on, a living creature) are the cherubim.

This "beast" (therion) speaks of a "wild animal", one that is ferocious, savage, bestial.

One reason this passage and those parallel to it get so confusing is due to the fact that the phrase "the beast" is used to refer to three different but related things.

It refers to:

1. Individual

The Antichrist. Note use of pronouns - "he" not "it".

2. National

The Antichrist's kingdom - It's not uncommon for a nation to be referred to by its leader. ie - Egypt and Pharaoh.

As an individual, this "beast" is the person known as the "antichrist".

The word "antichrist" does not mean "the opposite of Christ".

The word "anti" in Greek means "in the place of".

The "antichrist" is an individual who will try to take the place of Jesus Christ.

:1 rise up out of the sea

Some see this as the "sea of peoples" a picture thatís kind of used later. Compare Rev. 17:1 with Rev. 17:15.

(Rev 17:15 KJV) And he saith unto me, The waters which thou sawest, where the whore sitteth, are peoples, and multitudes, and nations, and tongues.

Because of the parallels with Daniel 7, I believe this to specifically be the Mediterranean Sea.

:1 having seven heads and ten horns, and upon his horns ten crowns

As we saw last week, this beast looks amazingly like the dragon in chapter 12.

The only difference is that this beast has ten crowns instead of just seven.

Weíre going to see this same "beast" later on in Revelation 17, were we receive some explanation:

Rev 17:3 So he carried me away in the spirit into the wilderness: and I saw a woman sit upon a scarlet coloured beast, full of names of blasphemy, having seven heads and ten horns.

(Rev 17:9-13 KJV) And here is the mind which hath wisdom. The seven heads are seven mountains, on which the woman sitteth.

Mountains - some say this is Rome ("seven hills"), yet Rome actually has nine hills. John actually gives us the interpretation that the mountains are kings (or kingdoms).

{10} And there are seven kings: five are fallen, and one is, and the other is not yet come; and when he cometh, he must continue a short space.

These seven kings (or kingdoms) in Johnís day contained five kingdoms of the past.

Remember in Daniel 2, how as you progressed along the body of the statue, you progressed along in time?

Here, as you go from head to head, you are passing through time.

The five earlier kingdoms (in Johnís day) would be the five great world empires: Egypt, Assyria, Babylon, Medo-Persia, and Greece.

Egypt and Assyria werenít in any of Danielís prophecies, because he was only looking in the future, and they were in Danielís past.

The king that "is", refers to the Roman empire, present in Johnís day.

There would be a future empire, that of the antichristís.

{11} And the beast that was, and is not, even he is the eighth, and is of the seven, and goeth into perdition. {12} And the ten horns which thou sawest are ten kings, which have received no kingdom as yet; but receive power as kings one hour with the beast. {13} These have one mind, and shall give their power and strength unto the beast.

The Antichrist is both an empire himself, as well as part of the seventh.

:12 - the horns are ten kings who make up the empire that the Antichrist rules over. Because of this, I think it very likely that on the beast, it was the seventh head that had the ten horns. These are kings who are contemporary with Antichrist.

The ten horns are ten kings who band together, making up the Antichrist's empire (of course from Daniel 7 we know that this is after the antichrist conquers three of them!).

We used to think this was the Common Market countries, now known as the European Union. Itís still possible, but the EU has about 16 countries in it now.

It will be some form of a "semi-revived" Roman Empire, most likely an empire centered around the Mediterranean.

Summary:

The seven heads are seven world empires through history.

The ten horns, located on the seventh head, are ten kings that make up the seventh empire, that of the antichrist.

The ten crowns refer to the power and authority of these ten kings who band together in the last empire.

:1 and upon his heads the name of blasphemy.

Apparently, these seven heads have something ungodly about them.

The seven world empires were not exactly god-fearing nations!

:2 And the beast which I saw was like unto a leopard, and his feet were as the feet of a bear, and his mouth as the mouth of a lion

It could be that this is referring to animal qualities.

I think John is referring to the clear picture of world empires in Daniel 7.

The leopard was the Greek empire.

Perhaps the overall look of the antichristís empire will be similar to Alexandarís empire.

The bear was the Medo-Persian empire.

Perhaps the way the antichristís empire conquers, or perhaps the way it moves, will be somehow similar to the Medes and the Persians.

The lion was the Babylonian empire.

Perhaps the way in which the antichrist speaks will be similar to Babylon, to Nebuchadnezzar.

Nebuchadnezzar was an absolute dictator. He had the power of life and death by simply speaking the words over people.

:2 his mouth

Note, there are seven heads, but only one mouth.

Probably the mouth is located on the last head, the one of the end times, that of the Antichrist's empire.

Remember from Daniel 7 Ė

Daniel 7:20 And of the ten horns that were in his head, and of the other which came up, and before whom three fell; even of that horn that had eyes, and a mouth that spake very great things, whose look was more stout than his fellows.

:2 and the dragon gave him his power, and his seat, and great authority.

They say behind every great man is a surprised mother-in-law. Oops Ö I meant to say, behind every great man thereís a woman.

Behind the antichristís empire, thereís another power, that of Satan himself.

I think we often donít realize just how much the invisible realm of the spirit affects our day to day lives.

Illustration

Look at the life of Daniel Ė

(Dan 10:1-3 KJV) In the third year of Cyrus king of Persia a thing was revealed unto Daniel, whose name was called Belteshazzar; and the thing was true, but the time appointed was long: and he understood the thing, and had understanding of the vision. {2} In those days I Daniel was mourning three full weeks. {3} I ate no pleasant bread, neither came flesh nor wine in my mouth, neither did I anoint myself at all, till three whole weeks were fulfilled.

At the end of these three weeks, Daniel receives a vision, and then has a visitor, and angel Ė

(Dan 10:7-14 KJV) And I Daniel alone saw the vision: for the men that were with me saw not the vision; but a great quaking fell upon them, so that they fled to hide themselves. {8} Therefore I was left alone, and saw this great vision, and there remained no strength in me: for my comeliness was turned in me into corruption, and I retained no strength. {9} Yet heard I the voice of his words: and when I heard the voice of his words, then was I in a deep sleep on my face, and my face toward the ground. {10} And, behold, an hand touched me, which set me upon my knees and upon the palms of my hands. {11} And he said unto me, O Daniel, a man greatly beloved, understand the words that I speak unto thee, and stand upright: for unto thee am I now sent. And when he had spoken this word unto me, I stood trembling. {12} Then said he unto me, Fear not, Daniel: for from the first day that thou didst set thine heart to understand, and to chasten thyself before thy God, thy words were heard, and I am come for thy words. {13} But the prince of the kingdom of Persia withstood me one and twenty days: but, lo, Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me; and I remained there with the kings of Persia. {14} Now I am come to make thee understand what shall befall thy people in the latter days: for yet the vision is for many days.

Daniel had been fasting and praying for 21 days, the same amount of time this messenger was fighting with these "princes" and "kings" in the spirit realm, until he finally broke through.

Apparently, there are different levels of angels, and some of them are assigned to nations, on the national level.

Just as Satan will be the prince behind the antichristís kingdom.

Lesson:

Be a force in politics Ė PRAY!

Iím not one to usually talk a lot about getting involved in politics, but there is an area we are commanded to be involved in.

Paul wrote:

(1 Tim 2:1-4 KJV) I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men; {2} For kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty. {3} For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour; {4} Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth.

:3 And I saw one of his heads as it were wounded to death; and his deadly wound was healed: and all the world wondered after the beast.

As we've seen, there are different levels of interpretation in this passage. The "beast" at times seems to refer to an individual, yet at other times to a nation.

Here, this could have two ideas Ė

1. A nation will cease, then rise again.

This would coincide with the fall of Rome, and a new, restored Roman empire made of the ten nations under the Antichrist's rule.

Perhaps it could refer to a nation that was in decline, then comes back.

As if Germany took over again, or now even Russia.

2. The individual will die, then recover miraculously. (Zech.11:15-17)

The book of Zechariah talks about two shepherds, a good one and a bad one. The good one is Jesus Christ (Zech.13:7). The bad one is Antichrist.

(Zec 11:15-17 KJV) And the LORD said unto me, Take unto thee yet the instruments of a foolish shepherd. {16} For, lo, I will raise up a shepherd in the land, which shall not visit those that be cut off, neither shall seek the young one, nor heal that that is broken, nor feed that that standeth still: but he shall eat the flesh of the fat, and tear their claws in pieces. {17} Woe to the idol shepherd that leaveth the flock! the sword shall be upon his arm, and upon his right eye: his arm shall be clean dried up, and his right eye shall be utterly darkened.

Because of this passage, it has been suggested that the Antichrist will have an assassination attempt made on his life, which will leave him scarred with a bad right arm and a blind right eye.

I know I always felt weird about Bob Doleís injured right arm!

Later on, in chapter 17, thereís another interesting description about the antichrist Ė

(Rev 17:8 KJV) The beast that thou sawest was, and is not; and shall ascend out of the bottomless pit, and go into perdition: and they that dwell on the earth shall wonder, whose names were not written in the book of life from the foundation of the world, when they behold the beast that was, and is not, and yet is.

He was, then was killed, then brought back to life.

Itís an interesting play on words, very similar to the description often used of God:

(Rev 4:8 KJV) And the four beasts had each of them six wings about him; and they were full of eyes within: and they rest not day and night, saying, Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty, which was, and is, and is to come.

Main focus

Lesson:

Donít look for antichrist, look for Jesus Christ!

We can get very sidetracked by all this talk about the antichrist.

As we continue to get into this over the next few weeks, weíll be able to lay out some of the distinguishing characteristics of this person.

Itís not uncommon for people to play the game of "Who is the Antichrist today?"

In my few years on the earth, Iíve seen lots of people pointed to.

During WWII, everyone was sure it was Hitler.

In the sixties, Kennedy was a favorite (some still think so!).

Other nominees have included Henry Kissinger, Ronald Reagan, King Juan Carlos of Spain, and a new one Iíve heard lately is Prince Charles of England.

Iím not sure anyone is going to know who the antichrist is for sure until the day that he steps into the temple, stops the sacrifice, and demands to be worshipped.

(Mat 24:15-16 KJV) When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place, (whoso readeth, let him understand:) {16} Then let them which be in Judaea flee into the mountains:

Itís not until the abomination of desolation that anyone is supposed to do any fleeing to the mountains!

Iím grieved over the "survivalist" folks who think they have to escape from our society.

If they are true, walking, talking, salt of the earth Christians, they ought to be sticking around, being a last minute influence on those who donít yet know Jesus.

When we see signs of the antichrist coming, it should only excite us to know that Jesus is coming too!

(Mat 24:32-33 KJV) Now learn a parable of the fig tree; When his branch is yet tender, and putteth forth leaves, ye know that summer is nigh: {33} So likewise ye, when ye shall see all these things, know that it is near, even at the doors.

Itís Jesus weíre looking for, itís Jesus we keep our eyes on.

(Mat 24:42 KJV) Watch therefore: for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come.

When we keep our eyes on Jesusí return, it will affect us:

(1 John 3:2-3 KJV) Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is. {3} And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure.

(2 Pet 3:10-12 KJV) But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up. {11} Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness, {12} Looking for and hasting unto the coming of the day of God, wherein the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat?